Challenge targets Alabama Power fees on solar

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An environmental group claims Alabama Power Co. is wrongly charging fees that increase costs for customers who install solar panels.
    
The Southern Environmental Law Center and others have filed a complaint with the Alabama Public Service Commission challenging surcharges the utility imposes on homes, businesses and schools.
    
The group says Alabama Power’s fees for customers with solar arrays amount to about $300 annually, cutting into savings they’d otherwise receive from using solar. It says the fees add about $9,000 in cost over the lifetime of an average solar system.
    
Critics say the charges are depressing Alabama’s solar-power industry, which trails much of the nation.
    
Alabama Power says it’s reviewing the complaint and declined further comment Friday.
    
The utility-regulating Public Service Commission let the charges take effect about five years ago.

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